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Israel's Right hails 'new era' after Trump, Netanyahu conference

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and the head of the right-wing Jewish Home party at a press conference announcing formation of coalition government and agreement with Jewish Home
Gali Tibbon (AFP)
Hard-liners say unlimited settlement construction can resume and two-state solution can be abandoned

Israel's right wing on Wednesday welcomed what they called a "new era" following a joint press conference by US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which Trump said he would support a single state if it led to peace -- dropping the long-held public US stance that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state was the only viable solution to the conflict.

Hard-line Education Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on Twitter after the conference: "A new era. New ideas. No need for 3rd Palestinian state beyond Jordan & Gaza. Big day for Israelis & reasonable Arabs. Congrats."

Culture Minister Regev wrote on her account: "The [construction] freeze in Judea and Samaria is over," using the biblical term for the West Bank favored by the current Israeli government. "The freeze in US-Israel relations is over. A new diplomatic era began in Washington today."

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also said Trump's remarks "prove we are in a new era.

"The stances expressed by the president testify to the understanding that the two-state solution is not the only solution for achieving peace and that the moment has come to flip the equation and put the pressure on the Palestinian side, which is the rejectionist side, and send a clear message that rejection of peace and teaching of hate and violence will have a price."

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak meanwhile blasted those celebrating the conference, writing on his Facebook page that a two-state solution remained the only possible way to achieve a peace deal. "The Right is (as usual) choosing self-deception. A right-wing person needs to be blind or foolish to celebrate."

Lawmaker Ahmad Tibi, an Arab, said he continued to support the two-state solution, but added that "if Netanyahu and Trump push for a single, bi-national state that has equality and voting rights for all, then that is the beginning of a new chapter in the region."

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